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Called, Chosen, and Faithful
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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The plan of God is not widely understood. Of course, you don’t expect the unconverted to comprehend, but people ‘in the Church’ ought to know better. Yet there is much ignorance!
Jesus said that those who will be with Him:
...are called, chosen, and faithful (Rev 17:14).
Do you understand these three categories, and how God works?
God isn’t calling everyone in this age. Besides being obvious from an overview of the state of things in this world, it is a truth of Scripture. It’s a shame that the Bible is often poorly translated. Isaiah 49 states:
Thus says the Lord: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you..." (Is 49:8).
Paul repeats this in 2 Corinthians 6:2. In both places the definite article "the", underlined above, is misrepresented. It should be the indefinite article, "a". (Read any accurate literal translation to see that.) It makes a world of difference to the meaning!
At present, the true meaning has been lost and has contributed to an overzealous, naive approach to evangelism. I wonder whether Reinhard Bonnke knows this Bible truth? From his, and other similar evangelists’ desperate efforts, it would seem not.
You hear the clarion call "Unless we reach people with the Gospel now, they will be forever lost."
Not so! Their conclusion is drawn from a faulty premise – that this is one’s only chance for salvation. Their grasp of God’s plan is so minimal, they don’t see further. They don’t know about the future Great White Throne Judgement time (Rev 20:11).
You read of that epoch:
I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and [Bible] books were opened [to their minds]. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books (Rev 20:12).
This description is highly symbolic. Your name is written in God’s Book of Life when He calls you, you respond positively, and He then chooses you. You are then being judged – assessed – according to how well you respond to what He has written and commanded in the Bible.
The sea gave up the dead who were in it... and they were judged, each one according to his works (Rev 20:13).
The sea is the vast ocean of humanity who has not heard of salvation through Jesus – the millions or billions who lived before Christ, and the billions since who were not called, who didn’t know of Him. God is loving and merciful. He hasn’t forgotten them, or left them out, but the first shall be last. All those vast numbers of people will be raised up, as Revelation portrays above, to experience physical life again, this time knowing Christ. That will be their calling.
To be ‘called’ simply means that God offers you a chance for salvation. He gives an invitation.
A lorry driver delivered me a load of building materials some years ago, when we were working on our cellar. He was a gruff character, but I asked him if he would like a booklet. I think it was Is God Relevant Today? He took one look and, with a smirk, said ‘no’.
He was invited – ‘called’. It may have come via me, but Jesus is behind many things that happen:
He who receives you receives Me (Matt 10:40).
That man turned down Jesus’ invitation, as most do. Jesus:
...sent out His servants to call those who were invited to the [heavenly] wedding; and they were not willing to come (Matt 22:3). But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business... (Matt 22:5).
There are two most likely possibilities for that man. Either he is incorrigibly wicked and can’t be saved because he will never submit to God, or he will be resurrected to partake of God’s offer again during the Great White Throne judgement after Jesus’ Millennial reign on earth.
Only God knows the state of that man’s heart.
But after this physical life, he will find himself ‘floating’ in a sphere of existence in which he will be able to see the panorama of his experience more objectively. It won’t be pleasant for those who have done wrong! They will gnash their teeth, so to speak. It will be very humbling – if he can be humbled. If he is given another invitation during the Great White Throne period, when Satan will have been banished (to begin with), his mind will be more receptive.
You receive a ‘call’ from God – an invitation to come, or to respond to Him. Then, when you respond positively, you are ‘chosen’. God opens your mind to some of His truth in the Bible, and He assesses you from then on. It’s up to you how well you do.
But to arrive at that point of acceptance is by being humbled. If you are like the self-reliant, proud, dismissive lorry driver, who thought God to be of no value to him and belief in God to be weakness, that humbling may need to be extreme to ‘break’ you.
When brokenness is achieved, then God can come in with His Spirit and transform you. In an article A Brief Look At Emotions I explain the need to submit to God emotionally. It’s relatively easy to accept God intellectually. It’s not too difficult to accept intellectual truths of the Bible. But it’s another matter to yield to His Spirit in deeper ways, one of which is emotionally.
Many Christians have accepted Him in the mind but not in the heart. The process of ‘breaking’ must continue until you can let Him rule your spirit.
God deals with each person individually.
The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually... (Ps 33:13-15).
That is something too abstruse for most to grasp. But God knows what each person must endure or experience to be able to receive Him – or not!
Some simply won’t. But for those who do – and I am persuaded that the number includes you, or you would not have read this far – you are chosen. That is something very special. But Jesus reminds us:
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain... (Jn 15:16).
He expects something from you; something big. I don’t mean big in a human sense, but big in a divine sense. The most important things to God – big things – are changes to you within, in your spirit. As your spirit bows down to God, and He is able to dwell in you by His Spirit, the divine purpose for your human life is worked out.
...you will abide in My love... (Jn 15:10).
This brings wonderful privileges. One is this:
...you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you (Jn 15:7).
Do you desire the things of God? His love, His joy, His peace, His goodness, His mercy towards others? If you do, He grants you your desires. He’s not talking about carnal desires, but heavenly ones.
He also regards you as a friend, a really close friend! He shares Himself with you, intimately.
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you (15:15).
Why? Because He loves you. Because He wants you to bear spiritual fruit that will endure for eternity, and because He wants you to share Him with others, so they can experience His wonder, too. True Christians are not selfish, nor insular.
‘Faithful’ in Greek is pistos, which has a numeric value of 666, as do the words translated wealth and tradition. God is making a point through this number. To whom will you be faithful? To Him, or to human tradition, or to wealth that everyone wants at some time in life?
Many choose wealth over God. They won’t be saved. Others choose to be faithful to what man says – human tradition – rather than to what God says. When the final "man of sin" appears on the scene, the false prophet of Revelation 13, who demands your obeisance, and who:
...causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name... his number is 666 (Rev 13:16-18)...
...will you obey him or be faithful to God? Even though he causes as many as won’t worship the image of the beast to be killed? (Rev 13:15.)
Here is the patience [endurance, longsuffering] of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Rev 14:12).
Many will throw the faith of Jesus to the wind in order to preserve their physical state. But Jesus says:
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Rev 2:10).
There have been historical fulfilments of that prophecy, but the principle still applies to you and me today. We must be faithful to Jesus until death if we are to receive the most incredible reward, figuratively described as a crown of life.
What is it like to receive this divine reward? Words can’t do it justice!!
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor 2:9). In Your presence is fulness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures evermore (Ps 16:11).
Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has GREAT REWARD (Heb 10:35).
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it (1 Thes 5:23,24).
Malcolm B Heap
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